Word Alive! © 2021 Winter Series
You Can Begin Again!
Concord Baptist Church of Boston in Milton
Conley Hughes, Jr., Senior Pastor
Tuesday, 2 Feb., 2021
Max Lucado, “Begin Again” Lesson 2, (Chap. 2)
Devotional Time: “Begin Again” (pp. 11-14)
Facing Our Fears – Some hold to the view that it is impossible to be fearful if one has faith. This view, although plausible to some, is not truthful. The scriptures provide many examples where the faithful were compelled to grapple with certain fears. What we know is certain in the scriptures, is that a mature faith will diminish and extinguish the fears and anxieties we encounter. Some 1,000 years before Christ’s earthly ministry, David asserted that the absence of fear comes with acknowledging the closeness of the Lord (cf. Psalm 23: 4, NLT). The word fear is derived from an Old English word faer, which means “a sudden attack.” In the Biblical world traveling in deep ravines or valleys was necessary but dangerous. This imagery was used by David to describe the dangers of encountering death and disaster. In such circumstances, a person’s fears were greatly relieved if a companion traveled alongside. Whenever our lives are disrupted by forces and events we didn’t anticipate, we can experience some fear or anxiety. David revealed his own fears when he was captured by his adversaries in Gath. David acknowledged his apprehension, but affirmed his trust in God (cf. Psalm 56:1-4, NLT). In the New Testament, Jesus is seen in the Garden of Gethsemane desiring that the anguish of that moment be taken away. The moment was so intense that Luke even described the sweat, mixed with blood, that seeped profusely from His body (cf. Luke 22:42-44, NLT). Jesus was transparent about how He felt, without losing His faith in the heavenly Father (Matthew 26:42, NLT). When we experience fear as a result of a difficult period, we can be assured that our unwavering trust in God will lead us forward in our journey. Jesus is our example! In his devotional, Begin Again, author and pastor Max Lucado said: “Don’t avoid life’s Gardens of Gethsemane. Enter them…And, while there be honest. Do what Jesus did; open your heart.” It is only when we face our fears that we’re able to conquer them. When we’re facing a difficult challenge, the issues may not change. However, our faith in God’s promises will catapult us beyond the moments, and extinguish our fears. Max Lucado said concerning the Father’s response to Jesus’ prayer: He didn’t take away the cross, but he took the fear. God didn’t still the storm, but he calmed the sailor. Who is it to say, he won’t do the same for you?” Yes, He can!
Releasing Your Fears: Embracing Faith – To release our fears we must acknowledge them. We must also know the source of our fears. Fear, as reverence to God, is beneficial. Most human fears can be painful.. The Apostle Paul instructed Timothy that the anxious fears we often express were neither given from, nor intended by, God (cf. 2 Timothy 1:7, NLT). The Greek word used for fear is deilia, which describes a timid person. Paul’s point to Timothy is that his inner qualities, which have been cultivated by his faith, should eliminate such fear or anxiety. Paul told the Christians in ancient Philippi to pray, and not be overcome with worry (cf. Philippians 4:6-7, NLT). As we mature in Christ, we will develop virtues that will always help us release our fears and anxieties. Max Lucado advises: “Don’t measure the size of the mountain; talk to the One who can move it. Instead of carrying the world on your shoulders, talk to the One who holds the universe on his.” As Christians we are to focus on God’s love for us. The Apostle John says the deeper our relationship with God, the more we will discover that His love removes our fears (cf. I John 4: 16-17a; 18a, NLT). David spoke of overcoming his fears, especially in the wake of enemies and foes. David’s awareness of God’s presence in his life eradicated his fears (cf. Psalm 27:1-3; 13-14, NLT). The Hebrew word often used for fear is yare, which means “to dread,” or “to be frightened.” The word is employed, especially when someone is in peril! In both the Old Testament and the New Testament, we note the “release” of fear is accompanied by a strong affirmation of faith in God. We observe in Psalm 27, that David boasts of his “confidence” in God, even while being attacked by others (cf. verse 3b). The faithful of ancient times believed in the “immediacy” of God. The Lord was not so distanced. The cries of His children would be heard. One of the early worship hymns, Psalm 46, was written to encourage worshipers to abandon their fears. They were to celebrate and acknowledge their faith in God who was immediate. The psalmist described God as being “always ready to help in times of trouble.” Acknowledging God will eradicate our fears!
What We Believe
Giving your fears to God, will remove them from within!
1. Jesus faced His fears, but released them to God the Father!
2. Our mature faith in God, will defeat our fears!
Psalm 23:4, NLT
“Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.”
Psalm 56:1-4 NLT
“O God, have mercy on me for people are hounding me. My foes attack me all day long. I am constantly hounded by those who slander me, and many are boldly attacking me. But when I am afraid, I will put my trust in you. I praise God for what He has promised. I trust in God, so why should I be afraid?What can mere mortals do to me?”
Luke 2242-44, NLT
“Father, if you are willing,please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done not mine. Then an angel from heaven appeared and strengthened Him. He prayed more fervently, and He was in such agony of spirit that His sweat fell to the ground like great drops of blood.”
2 Timothy 1:7 NLT
“For God has not given usa spirit of fear and timidity,but of power, love, and self-discipline.”
Philippians 4:6-7, NLT
“Don’t worry about anything,instead, pray about every-thing. Tell God what you need,and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”
I John 4:16-17a;18a, NLT
“We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in Him. As we live in God, our love grows more perfect…Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear…”
Psalm 27:1-3; 13-14, NLT
“The Lord is my light and my salvation – so why should I be afraid? The Lord is my fortress, protecting me from danger, so why should I tremble? When evil people came to devour me, when my enemies and foes attack me, they will stumble and fall. Though a mighty army surrounds me, my heart will not be afraid. Even if I am attacked, I will remain confident…Yet I am confident I will see the Lord’s goodness while I am here in the land of the living. Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.”
Psalm 46: 1-3, NLT
“God is our refuge and strength,always ready to help in times of trouble. So we will not fear when earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea. Let the oceans roar and foam. Let the